Developing on differences
Only by realising everyone has something to offer can a school move forward,
Did you always want to be a school principal? I graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a first-class honours degree in Chemistry.
Later, I received the Sir Robert Black Trust Scholarship to do a masters degree in Science Education at London University and an Australian postgraduate research award - the Peter Fensham Scholarship - with which I obtained my PhD in Science Education.
At that time I had to choose between teaching and conducting research. Yet, being a principal has been a most challenging, exciting and rewarding job.
What is the most demanding part of a principal's job today? In view of new educational initiatives and rapid changes . . . schools have been the battleground to take in all these factors to make things work.
I think a principal needs a clear direction and vision for the future of the school.
He or she should also have the wisdom and skills to work within practical constraints to strike a balance between reality and ideals.
It is important to respect and value differences among students and teachers in their interests, aptitudes and abilities and help them develop and maximise their potential.
Describe your style of headship.
I am open-minded and receptive to ideas. I respect and value differences among people and like to draw on their ideas.
I believe everyone has something to offer and a school can only progress through valuing these differences.
I take on a consultative and participatory model of decision making where we mutually influence each other.
Authority can come from your position, but I prefer it if authority comes from respect for and belief in your ability.
What has influenced your approach? I don't follow in anyone's footsteps and I don't have a mentor or role model to follow.
I read books on educational leadership and do constant self- reflection and evaluation and learn from everyone.
What do you enjoy about your job as school head? I enjoy most putting educational beliefs into practice.
I believe it will contribute to the education of my students and to education in Hong Kong.
What don't you enjoy ? I don't enjoy the maintenance, building and repair work, and administrative work not related to education.
How would you like to be remembered? As somebody always eager to learn and improve, somebody who always full of vitality, drive and confidence.
How do you cope with pressure of your job ? Writing letters, reading, listening to music, travelling and sharing experiences with friends and family.
What would you like to tell your students ? Everyone of you is a unique, valued and precious individual made in God's image. We have to take responsibility for our own learning and our own lives. Dare to dream, but work to make it come true.
What would you like to tell your teachers ? School makes a difference and you make a difference. Only life can influence life. Be a learning and reflective practitioner.
Name: Dr Anissa Chan Wong Lai-kuen Age: 40 Years of headship: 4.5 School: SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School